Saturday, June 02, 2012

Honking Box Preview: The Voice Final

Amidst all the fanfare about the Diamond Jubilee, the onslaught of the Olympics, and the impending European Championships, the fast-approaching final of the inaugural series of The Voice UK hasn’t quite grabbed the attention of the nation. But is it that it’s gotten lost amongst the numerous other events, or has the show itself gotten it all wrong?

When the series was first announced, our main worry was that the BBC wouldn’t give it the budget or the hype that it required, following in the limping footsteps of So You Think You Can Dance. But, in fairness to Auntie, the show has been gifted a healthy, impact-making budget, and a real sense of event.

So where exactly has it failed? Or has it even failed at all? Of course, detractors (and rabid Will Young devotees) are quick to call it a flop, and the ratings do give that theory some credibility, but it’s certainly got the nation talking, and numbers-wise, has hardly plummeted in a pattern emulating Celebrity Wrestling.

The main problem seems to be that the series is back-to-front – it begins with the most exciting component, and goes downhill from there. The blind auditions caught everyone’s attention, and wiped the floor with Britain’s Got Talent. The battle rounds were pretty clumsy, but still made for an interesting twist. Then we come to the live shows, and it’s pretty much Fame Academy all over again.

Quite how we’d do Series Two differently, it’s hard to say. Where it’d take all of 20 minutes to come up with a lengthy and detailed list of how to improve The X Factor, it’s difficult to determine exactly what needs to happen to The Voice. It’s entertaining, it’s found some great talent, but it’s lacking that certain something you can’t quite put your finger on... that ‘x’ factor. Cripes.

Back to Series One, and the final is looking fairly interesting, in that at least 75% of the acts have a decent shot at an actual music career. It’s a shame the exceptional Ruth Brown fell at the last hurdle, but it was hard to overlook her shambolic version of Emeli Sande’s Next To Me the previous week, in which she contorted her face into that of Pumbaa whilst taking a massive dump all over the concept of enunciation.

So, who are we left with?

Tyler James
Heading up Team Will – and far more deserving of a place in the final than Jaz Ellington, whose backdrop of his wife’s 15-foot-high face was irrevocably tasteless – is nu-blues proto-crooner Tyler. The most we know about Tyler as far as the show’s official storyline goes is that he was mates with Amy Winehouse. They’ve failed to mention he supported her on tour numerous times, and has a selection of Top 40 hits under his belt. But he’s got something fairly special, and The Voice might just give him the break he very nearly had six years ago.
Likely position: 2nd

Leanne Mitchell
Team Tom was never the most contemporary line-up, a point proven by its last hope, Leanne. She boasts some impressive pipes, but everything about her screams cruise ship. The best she can hope for beyond The Voice is a half-decent stage career – a touring production of Blood Brothers, perhaps? Or, more realistically, the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at the Stockport Garrick opposite Gary Lucy and Siren from Gladiators?
Likely position: 4th

Vince Kidd
...Or, to go by the name on his birth certificate, the little one from Futureproof. But Vince has been proof of just how stifling The X Factor is, unleashing an outlandish, gritty, shamelessly camp musician. A good representative for Team Jessie, Vince probably offers the most unique qualities of all the remaining acts, but that could well go against him. Come on – do you really see Middle England voting for the peroxide dwarf in the wife-beater and the vinyl leggings?
Likely position: 3rd

Bo Bruce
Maybe Danny O’Donoghue had the right idea filling his team with interchangeable pubescent white boys – it only served to highlight the brilliance of Bo Bruce. She’s been likened to Diana Vickers, Dolores O’Riordan and Alex Parks – all of which are fair comparisons – but there’s a real sense of quiet artistry about Baroness Bo that should see her crowned the winner, and a deserving one at that.
Likely position: 1st

But where Bo will go from here is the real acid test. Will she rush-release a clunky covers album to cash in on the series, or take her time to cultivate her sound until the public have forgotten her altogether? Presumably, they can’t get it as catastrophically wrong as Syco manage to get it, year in, year out, but it’s worth noting that, as far as the public are concerned, the mark of a talent show’s success isn’t ratings or column inches. It’s talent. And if The Voice can handle that talent correctly, it should set itself up pretty nicely for Series Two, and beyond.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If this show was on ITV, you'd be pissing all over it.

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